Authors: George Rajna
Researchers and students in the Graphene Flagship are preparing for two exciting experiments in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) to test the viability of graphene for space applications.  For the first time, scientists created a tunable artificial atom in graphene. They demonstrated that a vacancy in graphene can be charged in a controllable way such that electrons can be localized to mimic the electron orbitals of an artificial atom. Importantly, the trapping mechanism is reversible (turned on and off) and the energy levels can be tuned.  Bumpy surfaces with graphene between would help dissipate heat in next-generation microelectronic devices, according to Rice University scientists.  Scientists at The University of Manchester and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have demonstrated a method to chemically modify small regions of graphene with high precision, leading to extreme miniaturisation of chemical and biological sensors.  A new method for producing conductive cotton fabrics using graphene-based inks opens up new possibilities for flexible and wearable electronics, without the use of expensive and toxic processing steps.  A device made of bilayer graphene, an atomically thin hexagonal arrangement of carbon atoms, provides experimental proof of the ability to control the momentum of electrons and offers a path to electronics that could require less energy and give off less heat than standard silicon-based transistors. It is one step forward in a new field of physics called valleytronics.  In our computer chips, information is transported in form of electrical charge. Electrons or other charge carriers have to be moved from one place to another. For years scientists have been working on elements that take advantage of the electrons angular momentum (their spin) rather than their electrical charge. This new approach, called "spintronics" has major advantages compared to common electronics. It can operate with much less energy.  Scientists have achieved the ultimate speed limit of the control of spins in a solid state magnetic material. The rise of the digital information era posed a daunting challenge to develop ever faster and smaller devices for data storage and processing. An approach which relies on the magnetic moment of electrons (i.e. the spin) rather than the charge, has recently turned into major research fields, called spintronics and magnonics. 
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[v1] 2017-07-07 11:58:52
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